Review: The Spring Cleaning Murders: An Ellie Haskell Mystery, by Dorothy Cannell , Random House Publishing Group – Alibi

This is vintage Cannell, apparently first published in the 1990s. It’s Spring Cleaning time, and Ellie is motivated to do her seasonal duty. The book is sprinkled with what appear to be Helpful Hints from an earlier book on household management. It hearkens back to the days when all good housewives did do a thorough spring cleaning. Reading the chapter heading hints, I don’t know how people did these things back in the day. Our foremothers were certainly a hardy lot.

Anyway, Ellie runs into problems fairly early on in her project. For one thing her faithful Mrs. Roxie Malloy gives notice, apparently so she can go be live-in help for her son and his wife, supermodel Vanessa, and their new baby. Rose. Before she goes, Mrs. Malloy tells Ellie about the Chitterton Falls Charwoman’s Association (CFCWA) and Ellie soon encounters ladies of this organization willing to take up where Mrs. Malloy left off. But it’s not a good season for charwomen; before too long, three of them are dead under suspicious circumstances.

It remains for Ellie to solve the mysterious deaths as well as the unsettling absence of Mrs. Malloy. Along the way, she is helped by her husband Ben, cousin Freddy, and her 3-year-old twins, as well as their aged gardener. Dorothy Cannell tells this story with her trademark mixture of wry humor and touching humanity

My thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.

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